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Monday, August 20, 2012

Tonight I bought rolling eyeballs

You're probably thinking the same thing I was thinking when my seven-year-old daughter told me what her teacher expected her to bring to school tomorrow. What the hell is that? And in Spanish they're called Ojos de Mentira, which translated would really mean "lying eyes."

I was on my way to the supermarket to pick up some things for the kids' school lunches when my daughter stopped me with this strange request. I looked at my wife and asked, "What is she talking about?" She said, "You know...the fake eyes." No, I didn't know. Finally, through a discussion that lasted longer than it probably should have, I figured out that they were talking about the fake, rolling eyes that you might see on a sock puppet. Where was I supposed to find something like that? My wife told me they're everywhere. Just look at the supermarket or at the pharmacy. I made my daughter tag along on this scavenger hunt.

We checked the supermarket and couldn't find them, so I drove over to the Farmacia Arrocha, which is the closest thing to a Walgreens or CVS here in Panama. I went straight to the art supply section, just knowing they'd have to be somewhere in between the yarn and glitter. Where else would something like that be, right? Well they weren't there. I went up and down each of the aisles scouring the school supplies and the art supplies and scented candles and greeting cards. There were no Ojos de Mentira to be found.

I didn't want to ask for help. My Spanish is lousy. Usually I'd try to explain myself, but I just knew they'd laugh at me asking for lying eyes. So there I was, standing in front of a rack full of party supplies, trying to convince my seven-year-old to go ask one of the store's employees. I felt like a kid all over again, trying to convince my younger brother to go ask Dad if we could stay up past our bedtime.

This is how the conversation with my daughter went:

Me: Just go ask.
Daughter: No, Dad. You go ask.
Me: I don't want to. I'll sound stupid.
Daughter: I don't know how to say it.
Me: Just say, "Ojos de Mentira."
Daughter: No, you go say that.
Me: Let's go together.

So we walked hand in hand over to the photo counter where three of the employees were hanging out. We just kind of stood there looking at the employees. I kicked my daughter's shoe and said, "Ask 'em." She shook her head and whispered, "Uh uh." So finally I got up the nerve to ask, "Tiene ojos de mentira?"

Without even a second's hesitation, one of the employees told us (in Spanish) that we'd find them at the cash register. Well why hadn't I thought of that? So we moseyed on over to the cash register and there they were. Hanging next to a few other completely random objects, were these fake eyes. They were dangling from the wall behind the cashier, just above spare pencils and erasers, and not too far from the variety of condoms for sale. For about a buck sixty-five I walked away with a whole bag of lying eyes. It always amazes me the things you can pick up here in Panama. In the States I'd have had to go to Pearls Arts & Crafts or some other art store. Here you can get them right at the cash register at your local pharmacy. Here's a photo of the lying eyes: